C32. Katz, J.E. & Rice, R.E. (2001). Concluding thoughts. In R.E. Rice & J.E. Katz (Eds.), The Internet and health communication: Expectations and experiences (pp. 417-429).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

In this chapter, we advance some touchstone issues for consideration by scholars and policy-makers. We also seek to highlight experiences that suggest some might wish to temper  what we judge to be excessively exuberant expectations of what the Internet can deliver in terms of healthcare.

    Cost-Benefit Comparisons
    The Implication of Integration for Near-Term Investments
    Surmounting the Foothills Only to See the Mountains
    Facilitating Health Communication
    Expectations, Ethics and Interests
    Hopes, Empowerment and Responsibility
    Research Issues
Major health care issues include who is the community of interest (i.e., stakeholders), what is the content, where and when does connectivity occur, how this is accomplished through software and computers, whether the health care is virtual or real, who pays, and the legislation, rules and regulations that affect the quality of health care and the uses of the Internet.  Note that stakeholders include a wide range of actors, from health care providers and patients to significant others, medical researchers, and insurance companies.  There is little research on most of the cross-stakeholder interactions, except for the initial work on Internet mediation of physician-patient, and patient-patient communication, as well as work on provider-provider interaction.
Major research issues include outcomes such as health efficacy and cost-efficiency, the form and process of decision-making at the community, organizational, and individual level, access to and equity of care, privacy and security of personalizable health information, barriers to access and use, and the flows and networks of communication among patients and providers, and methodology (both ethical and practical aspects of medical information and Internet usage data).

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